How To: Deal with a flight cancellation

Deal with a flight cancellation

There's nothing more disappointing than finding yourself all packed and ready to travel when you find your flight has been canceled. You can make the best of the situation by finding out just what you are entitled to or how to best ameliorate the situation.

Find out if you have any recourse if your flight gets canceled or you get bumped.

You Will Need

  * Knowledge of rights
  * Internet access
  * Bargaining skills
  * Cell phone
  * Credit cards

Step 1: Know your rights

Know your rights before booking a flight. Visit the U.S. Department of Transportation's Aviation Consumer Protection web site for information aimed at consumers with canceled or over booked flights.

Step 2: Visit airline web site

Visit your airline's web site and find their ticketing contract information before buying your ticket. Read their policies regarding cancellations and over booking.

Step 3: Call airline to rebook

If your flight gets canceled and you're already at the airport, call your airline to rebook. This may shortcut long lines at the ticket counter.

Most major airlines have computer programs that quickly rebook your flight.

Step 4: Call other airlines

Call other airlines to find an alternative flight. Make sure they will honor your cancelled flight's ticket.

No federal laws require airlines to compensate passengers whose flights have been cancelled.

Step 5: Seek compensation if bumped

Seek financial reimbursement or ticket vouchers as compensation if you're bumped from an overbooked flight. Be sure to ask about expiration dates and other restrictions.

No compensation is required if the airline arranges another flight within one hour of bumped passenger's original scheduled arrival time.

Step 6: Seek compensation if the airline goes out of business

Seek compensation if the airline goes out of business. Contact your credit card issuer to remove flight charges under the FTC's Fair Credit Billing Act.

In 2008, 63,612

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